The surprising effectiveness of earliest operation due-date sequencing
In make-to order production, schedule reliability is very important but still not sufficiently accomplished in industrial practice by the vast majority of companies. It has been known for long that processing the orders at a workstation in the order of their operation due-dates can compensate for lateness in the arrival at the workstation within certain boundaries. The paper analyses the effectiveness of earliest operation due date (EODD) sequencing by comparing it to an optimistic theoretical boundary. The surprising result is that EODD can nearly fully exploit the theoretical potential. It should therefore be used in practice whenever schedule reliability is important, with only few exceptions. Its effectiveness though is increasing with the workstation’s WIP level and thus is in conflict with the objective to reduce WIP levels and throughput times. A simple forecasting model allows to assess the extent to which lateness can be compensated by EODD sequencing and which schedule compliance can be achieved.